The Saga of the Barber Shop

I guess you might say that The Barber Shop started in 1981.

I was the proud owner of a Radio Shack TRS-80 Model II computer with a staggering 64 K (yes, "K"... one thousandth of an "M") of memory. Because hard drives weren't available, I daisy-chained three floppy drives (these were those big 8-inch floppies) together to give myself a whopping 3/4 of a meg of offline storage. (Remember, in those early days the only "clouds" were in the sky.) It was amazing — I could spell-check an entire 30-page document in under a minute!

It sounds crude (and it was), but that system enabled my little one-person business to compete — successfully — with businesses thousands of times bigger than mine. For example, I wrote, edited, and printed the first of 18 manuals (Tooterbooks™), and developed over 100 different workbooks.

I could do a lot with that system; but there was so much that I could only dream of doing. In 1981 no one but die-hard geeks had even heard of the Internet, so I kept in touch with people via a little 8-page newsletter called The Barberian World. It was popular, but I felt constrained by the many limitations of paper-based publishing.

By the early 90's, I was exploring the Internet, and "exploring" is the right word. The earliest browsers hadn't been created yet (Internet Explorer 1.0 wasn't released until August 1995), so while I was captivated by the potential that the Internet offered, I couldn't do anything except poke around a few university computers... and dream.

Several years later, the World Wide Web had been created and I created my first web page by using America Online (as AOL was called back then). It wasn't much, but I was hooked — I couldn't wait until I could become a full-fledged participant in the Internet miracle.

A couple of years after that, it became possible for ordinary folks to get their own domain names, so on March 14, 1997, I registered "thebarbershop" as a dot-com, and started building my first official web site. (Here's a copy of one of the earliest versions of The Barber Shop.) I'll admit, my first tries were very crude, but I kept working at it. And it paid off....

By the year 2000, The Barber Shop had grown to such a point that PC World magazine listed it as a “top ten web site for professional speakers".

The world has undergone a revolution — in fact, several revolutions — since then, and it's still changing every day. The Barberian World has been replaced with The Barber Shop, and The Barber Shop is ever-changing too. But through the years, one thing has stayed the same — my commitment to helping people realize their full potential. The Barber Shop has helped a lot of people over the years; I hope it will help you too!

So c'mon in and check it out! Here at The Barber Shop, you'll find information about the programs and services I provide, as well as the Speaker Gym (where you can strengthen your communication skills), Pro Speaker U (where you'll learn to move "from free to fee" by becoming a money-making professional speaker), Jim's Web World (where you can find the best in Internet resources), and more!

As I've said since 1981, here's wishing you every success in your endeavors!

Jim Barber

Head Proprietor, The Barber Shop